During the holidays, you might get more people together to play the game with but might struggle with deciding on what quest you would like to play. After all, there are so many quests out there and just playing Encounter at Amon Dîn for the 40th time is dull. So I decided to get a calendar together where I list down some thematic quests to play during those special dates. I tried to include plenty of international holidays, but some might just be local enough that you don’t celebrate them.
I also added some quests for a particular time of year. And while the international holidays might have a set date on which you celebrate them, you also have your own personal anniversaries that can be celebrated with LOTR LCG! So in truth, this article is a combination of 3 lists, giving you enough inspiration to play a game at any point in the year!
Seasonal quests / Weather dependant quests
During the winter, the darker and colder quests come to mind to play. This includes most of the Angmar Awakened cycle, which has a specific encounter set dedicated to the miserable conditions outside. Especially during The Weather Hills, Across the Ettenmoors, and Wastes of Eriador where you get a cozy winter feeling while your allies drop dead in the snow. Other snow-themed quests are also appropriate to play during this time. Chief amongst them is, of course: The Redhorn Gate. This quest focuses a lot on the deadly conditions atop the cold mountains above Moria.
The lovely springtime is when nature reawakens from its hibernation and is a time in which you should play some quests that have to do with nature. A nice track across the plains of Rohan during The Uruk-hai would be lovely, or a stroll through the forests of Druadan, Ithilien, or Fangorn will really bring that spring feeling to your board state. There aren’t many flower-themed quests in this game, so just some generic nature walks would be my best bet here. Just don’t venture into Mirkwood during this time, as we will cover that in half a year from now.
The bright sun and high temperatures of summer are mirrored in the warmer climates of Middle Earth. During this time, the Haradrim cycle of quests feels most appropriate to play. On particularly hot days, Desert Crossing would be the ideal quest to play, as you get to beat the heat in two ways at the same time! During the warm days of summer, you might also want to escape and go for a swim. The Dream-chaser cycle has you covered for this. You can enjoy the ocean breeze during Flight of the Stormcaller, or go for a dip in the water with your army of allies during the Drowned Ruins. Just be careful of the undead and corsair enemies in these quests.
As the warm days of summer come to an end, the world starts to show its colours during Autumn. Unfortunately, this is also the time of year in which many spiders and other critters are most abundant. This brings us to the Mirkwood quests, which are a proper match to this time of year with a gloomy atmosphere and creepy crawlies that even the players in Australia would think are a little much. Aside from the Mirkwood quests, you can also try Beneath the Sands for more insect-themed quests.
The following list of holidays is not final, so if I missed any holidays that you feel have a solid connection with a particular quest, feel free to let me know in the comments, and I might extend the list. Most of the holidays selected are the ones that I know, so perhaps local festivities are excluded here.
New Year’s Day – January 1st
On the first day of the year, you can start off LOTR LCG with any big quest that you would like to tackle. While you might be too hungover from last night for “Math: the Game,” you can also keep it simple, but make sure you start the year off with a few solid games with strong decks. Really make the games pop like fireworks! Sadly, we do not (yet) have any cards related to Gandalf’s Fireworks at the time of writing, but if a Fireworks deck should ever be viable, this is the day to play it!
Valentine’s Day – February 14th
This day is not about a specific quest you need to play, but just to be playing the game with your valentine. If your significant other isn’t interested in playing LOTR LCG, try a different game that the two of you enjoy. For those of us that do not have a valentine on this day, jump into some online multiplayer games with the community to not feel as lonely.
St. Patrick’s Day – March 17th
You are getting extra points if you are playing a Mono-Lore deck on this day! As for quests, there are some nice drinking modes for this quest that you should try out. Thematic quests can also be found for this day, with Peril in Pelargir being a great quest for people who are familiar with bar brawls after having a few beers too many!
Destruction of the Ring – March 25th
This is truly a holiday that you should not forget, as, on this very day, Frodo completed the quest, and the One Ring was finally destroyed. Players can celebrate this day with an Epic Multiplayer game of The Black Gate Opens + Mount Doom or play the two quests back-to-back. Players who started a campaign should try and finish on this day for thematic reasons.
This is one of the holidays that inspired this article, to begin with. I always draw the parallels between this holiday and The Withered Heath quest, which is a perfect quest to play during this extended weekend (you’ll need the extra time, especially in higher player counts). The quest sees you collect (dragon) eggs which are sadly not painted. Once you collect enough eggs, you get to fight a dragon. It “dies” only to be resurrected 2 stages later while it was healing. Other quests that require you to collect items are also a good fit for this holiday, such as the Black Serpent, Hunt for Gollum, and Temple of the Deceived.
April Fool’s Day – April 1st
Prepare your friends for one quest, and then play a completely different one. Or try to include some treacheries that come from different quests that are “totally a part of this quest, the rule sheet is just wrong.” Anyway, have fun playing some games on this day!
Anniversary of the game – April 20th
On this day, the first Core Sets went for sale worldwide over 10 years ago. It is a date that we should celebrate for the game, even if FFG won’t do much with such celebrations. This is a good day to try and run through all the Core Set quests again. Bonus points for people who try the quests with a deck containing only Core Set cards. Players looking to start a Progression Series could consider starting at this date, though I would advise you not to stick to a Progression mode where you play each quest on the day it was released. That’s going to take you 10 years (and maybe more) to complete.
Midsummer’s Eve – June 23th/24th
The longest day of the year is often celebrated in the Nordic countries, with big bonfires and parties that last long into the night. So you could say that Fire in the Night (the quest from the Ered Mithrin cycle) has the perfect title for this holiday. The quest has a very large bonfire (Hrogar’s Hill) and sees you being a party-pooper that tries to douse the flames. Other great bonfires in the game include The Battle of Lake-Town, where you fight a different dragon who thought it a good idea to light a town on fire.
Fiestas of San Fermin (Running of the Bulls) – July 6th /14th
This Spanish holiday is an easy one to try and play in LOTR LCG. While there are no cows or bulls in the game, players can still try and rush through a city during Escape from Umbar. The chasing Haradrim can easily be turned into bulls with some alt art trickery, and the quest will be a perfect theme. Just be careful of the Bull Champion, as that will be a tough challenge to overcome!
Storming of the Bastille – July 14th
This kicked off the French Revolution and is one of the most important days to the French. So why not celebrate it with some wine and playing Wrath and Ruin! This sees you battling in the streets of Dorwinion (Basically Paris in Middle Earth) against Ulchor and his royalists! Viva la Dorwinion!
The quest begins – September 23rd
This marks the day that Frodo and Sam set out from Hobbiton with the One Ring. This is where players should start any LOTR Campaigns if they want to follow the exact timeline. I won’t put the rest of the dates on which the specific quests will start. You can look those up yourself in the appendices. Start with A Shadow of the Past on this day, and make sure to keep the timeline of events next to you, so you can spread out the following quests over the rest of the year.
This is the time of the year to get those drinking quests out of storage again. The 2 weeks leading up to convention season (Con of the Rings and Lure of Middle Earth tend to be in October) is a perfect time for drinking quests like Jubilee in Dale, which is a custom drinking quest made by Vardaen. Drink at your own risk, though; this quest can get you hammered! Be sure to read the rules in advance and have a designated driver before you start!
World Animal Day – October 4th
Not sure how large a holiday this is outside of the Netherlands, but I grew up always celebrating this with my pets. In Middle Earth, you can have pets as well in the form of horses, birds, and even hounds. Use a Creature deck today and make sure all your creature allies survive the quest. In terms of quests, there are several that are somewhat animal-themed. You can have a pet elephant during Race Across Harad or help out Wilyador during A Journey to Rhosgobel.
Columbus Day – October 11th
Well, this one is pretty obvious. Any sailing quest will do for this holiday, but in particular, Voyage across Belegaer will be a thematic home run for this day. While I doubt that Columbus had to battle against Corsairs, the weather treacheries and Ocean locations will be a nice representation of the conditions during that voyage.
Halloween/Dia de los Muertos – October 31st / November 1st
This is the spooky time of year, and a ton of scenarios fit this period. Any quest that has you facing Undead enemies is a nice and thematic match during these days. Some proper spooky quests are The Passing of the Grey Company, The Ghost of Framsburg, The Three Trials, and almost half of the Angmar Awakened cycle. For those of you more interested in fighting zombies, there is the Dread Realm, as well as the Temple of the Deceived and Fate of Numenor quests. Bats can be found in nearly all quests, but there are also some werewolves in the Ered Mithrin cycle that are right on-brand for this time of year.
Guy Fawkes Night – November 5th
Remember, remember, the 5th of November, when Saruman wanted to blow up the Houses of the Hornburg. During this night, it will be thematic to try and beat Helm’s Deep before you reach stage 4. Other quests from the Treason of Saruman box are also thematic quests to play during this time. “I see no reason, why Saruman’s Treason, should ever be forgotten.” Other thematic quests that involve a hidden plot include The Steward’s Fear and Danger in Dorwinion, which are thematic quests as well during this night.
Thanksgiving days / Harvest festivals
There are several festivals towards the end of Autumn that traditionally celebrate the last harvest of the year. While this is thematically around the time of Durin’s Day, and thus in the timeframe of The Lonely Mountain, I don’t expect a lot of celebration when that quest hits the table. So just bring your Bombur deck, play plenty of Lembas on other people, and try to have a good time with family and friends against any quest that you like. Just make sure that your cards are sleeved, so no greasy fingers ruin the cards.
Boston Tea Party – December 16th
Marking one of the causes for the formation of the United States, this is the day where people threw perfectly fine tea into saltwater. While Lord of the Rings might not have tea to throw into the harbor, they do have Corsairs that make an even bigger splash! Commandeer their ships during the Siege of Gondor and have them jump in the water at the sight of your Army of the Dead!
Midwinter – December 21st
On the darkest day of the year (for those living in the Northern Hemisphere), it will be thematic to play some of the darkest and more difficult quests in the game. Some noteworthy quests for this date are The Battle of Carn-Dûm and The Dread Realm. Stage 2 of Carn Dûm, as well as the unique location in Dread Realm, both reference Midwinter, so that’s as good a connection as we are going to get! Players could also try The Long Dark from the Dwarrowdelf cycle, though it isn’t as enjoyable to many to be “celebrated.” Also, a shout-out to The Stone of Erech during this time of year. It’s a nice quest to signify the gloom of an early nightfall as you try and beat the quest as fast as possible.
Christmas Day – December 25th
Snow-themed quests are pretty nice to play on Christmas, but it is also a time of gift-giving. The only quest that remotely comes close to this is The Ring Goes South, where you get some nice goodies, to begin with, if you are playing in Campaign mode. If you are not, you still get to enjoy the gifts of the first stage of the quest. This has players get some cards at random for free, which is a lot like unpacking presents on Christmas morning. The second stage of the quest also brings some snow, so it is even more on theme! Other quests that might be considered to have “presents” could include The Hunt for the Dreadnaught. There, you can select some really awesome boats to begin your quest. Middle Earth doesn’t often give away free stuff, so it’s difficult to nail down a quest for this holiday.
New Year’s Eve – December 31st
While the final hours of the year are ticking down, you might look over at your playthrough logs of the last year, and notice that you haven’t played all your quests yet. I certainly didn’t mention all of the quests in this article, so you are bound to have some blank spaces in your playthrough log at this time. Try and fill out as many of those holes as possible today, to make sure you can say that you completed (or at least attempted to complete) a cycle or a campaign!
Ramadan / Yom Kippur
During these times of fasting, it is important that you understand not to take everything for granted. So during these periods, you should try and play quests that don’t allow you to play so much. Under the Ash Mountains and Fortress of Nurn will see you not use most of your deck, which is about the closest thing I could find to fasting.
Civil War anniversaries
For people living in countries that commemorate (the end of) civil wars, the Antlered Crown is a great quest to play. Yes, the quest isn’t too easy, but it is very thematic as players will fight in a Dunlending civil war. While most civil wars are fought over more complicated matters like religion and rights, it’s nice to play a quest where it is boiled down to the choice between Raven and Boar.
For everyone who is able to vote, it will be a fun experience to play some Steward’s Fear on the same day while you wait for the election results. The quest has you fight for your leader, while the Villains try to install their own figurehead in Minas Tirith and undergo different plots to try and thwart your campaign. In case you have multiple elections each year (regional elections count too) the quest is highly replayable, with perhaps new villains trying to set up their own government.
We all know it, we all dread it, but it is one of life’s certainties that you will eventually have to pay taxes, just like it is a certainty that you will have to spend resources that you do not want to spend during The Druadan Forest. Thanks to the Prowl keyword, the Wose enemies of the tax agency will steal away any of the resources you leave on your heroes. And the treacheries and locations with this quest will prevent you from doing anything without resources. So when the dreaded day is due, play this quest AFTER filing your taxes. No procrastinating here. Play after you pay.
These quests can be played on some of the days you want to celebrate personal milestones or during specific gatherings of your loved ones.
In advance, you know there will be a crowd, but there’s no escaping the family gatherings at times. The only way to escape is to play some LOTR LCG like the nerd you are during the gathering. And what better quest to play than Massing at Osgiliath? This quest has you swarmed with “relatives” you have to defeat as you try and escape the gathering. There is also a final boss at the end, which you can replace with any single annoying uncle/aunt/cousin etc., that insists they talk to you about this new totally-not-a-scam-for-real-this-time thing. Bring a good deck, and you’ll get through this event!
Weddings / Wedding anniversaries
Whether this is your own wedding, that of someone you know, or of people celebrating their wedding anniversaries, players can get into the spirit with The Oath. While this quest does not feature a wedding, the title does match nicely to the day at which people exchange vows and such. The quest is also pretty easy, so there is no real need to stress.
Since this is pretty region-specific, I didn’t put this up on the “holiday” list, as players might not really see Lockdown as a holiday. Still, this does offer enough time to tackle one of the harder quests out there that is a decent fit for this event. Attack on Dol Guldur sees you wait for 3 turns at the first stage, sitting at home in Lorien. After that, you start the endless cycle of switching between stages. The locations in this quest also almost never allow you to travel, which is similar to the travel restrictions that were put in place. Finally, this quest is best beaten with more people, and though we might not be able to play this in person with 12 players, it will be a lot easier to beat Lockdown together than all on our own.
Of course, this list is not final, so if you have other good suggestions for a quest on a holiday that I skipped, feel free to leave it in the comments! We will be continuing our regular content soon, with progress being made on several different articles at once. Another reason for celebration!